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Gimme My Money

Steps you can take to collect on past due accounts receivable

By Paul DeCeglie

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Are any of your accounts receivable more than 60 days past due?How about 90 days? (The only answer worse than "yes" is"I don't know." Find out.) Unlike fine wines, debtsdo not age well; the longer a bill goes unpaid, the less likely itwill be paid. What are you doing about slow-pays and no-pays? Ifyou have the time and would rather not bear the cost (15 to 50percent) of a collection agency or attorney, there are severalsteps you can take to get your money.

You've sent several invoices and reminders. Your next moveis equally simple: ask for payment. Call or visit the customer,calmly review the situation, and ask for your money. Odds are,you'll get an explanation (or excuse) but nevertheless comeaway with a check or credible assurances that your bill will bepaid. At the very least, insist on a firm commitment that thepayment (or partial payment) will be made on a given day andexactly how it will be made (hand-delivered cash, a check via amessenger service or whatever the case may be).

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